(At Mysti's House)
Not a creature was stirring, except Mysti's spouse.
He hung all the stockings on the mantel with care,
His children expected St Nick to be there.
Mysti had filled them almost to the top,
With candy, small toys and a bubble gum pop…
Bryan laughed as these thoughts flitted through his mind as he tried to slip the bulging stockings onto the hooks. Mysti had outdone herself this year. Matter of fact, the eggnog was better too. He turned and drained his third mug of the creamy brew before stepping back to appraise his handiwork. Perfect! He spread his arms, palms up in satisfaction.
He moved across the room to his recliner, and noticed the pitcher of eggnog sitting on the coffee table. He couldn't see any sense in wasting it. One more mug full wouldn't hurt. He relaxed in the comfy chair and let his eyes wander around the room taking in the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and the brightly wrapped packages nestled beneath its branches.
Zachary would have a lot of fun with the Monster Truck, almost as much as he did when picking it out. Bryan couldn't remember if Mysti had given in to Meg's plea for a cell phone. All kids wanted their own phone in this day and age, but his wife wasn't happy about the idea. Zoe had the right idea. He could still remember his first Nintendo. It was used, and a far cry from the ones made now.
He drained his eggnog mug and poured up the last three inches from the pitcher. He'd have to tell Mysti how great it tasted. Ah, Mysti. She'd worked so hard making Christmas good for all of them. He had a gift of jewelry under the tree for her but she deserved something special. What could he do?
And then, it came to him. Voila! She'd been working on her book for hours on end. He drank half the delicious eggnog in his cup, How hard could it be to finish typing that book for her? He stood and had to grab on the chair to stay upright. He grinned at being so clumsy, but held on to the furniture until he got to Mysti's computer desk and landed heavily in the chair. Thank goodness Mysti left her computer turned on.
How in the world did she get any work done on this blurry screen? It took him ten minutes to bring up her novel file. He squinted his eyes and read the last page she'd written. Elves and dragons. He could write about them in his sleep just by pretending he was playing a video game.
Bryan typed and typed, stopped to laugh at what he'd written, and typed some more. He decided to bring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into the story to help the elves. Surely elves and dwarves were related and would help each other. Finally, with a satisfied gasp, he typed The End.
He printed out the whole manuscript to wrap and put under the tree. Good grief, the wrapping paper kept wrinkling and he couldn't get the tape to hold it together. Oh well, it wasn't the wrapping that counted. He hoped the pages had numbers though; he'd dropped them twice while looking for the tape.
It felt so good knowing Mysti would be happy that her book was finished. He swayed as he carried his package toward the tree. He gasped and fell backwards onto the couch. St. Nick stood before the mantel adding more gifts and candy to the stockings. The manuscript slid out of Bryan's grasp and fell to the floor. Santa turned and his smile lit up the room like a bright sunny day. He walked over and picked up the manuscript, held it high above his head, and murmured a few unintelligible words. He lowered his hands so Bryan could see a beautiful hardback book with an amazing design. A touch of his finger covered the gift in an embossed gold wrapping with curls of rainbow ribbon gracing the top.
"Merry Christmas, Bryan…and to all a goodnight"
Bryan fell back on the couch and drifted into a deep sleep. The next thing he knew, Mysti was shaking him awake. He rubbed his eyes and sat up. Oh my God, what a dream he'd had. Mysti would kill him if he'd actually touched her work. Before he could tell her his dream, the kids bounded in to see what Santa had left for them.
He watched as Mysti passed out the gifts from under the tree. The children squealed in delight as they opened their packages. Then, Mysti looked at her own gifts. She held up the gold embossed package and smiled up at him. His eyes bugged out and his mouth dropped open. When she didn't see a name on the tag except her own, she sweetly asked who the gift was from.
"Santa Claus," he whispered.